Pass Christian revises harbor evacuation order

By David Elliott – bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - As Tropical Storm Ida barreled towards the Gulf Coast, officials issued an evacuation order at the Pass Christian Harbor.

The order was issued Sunday afternoon, but by Monday morning, few boat owners had obeyed it. Many felt they were better off leaving their boats in the harbor. Commercial fisherman Mark Stewart said he preferred that to battling the elements in the Mississippi Sound.

"I think the better plan is to stay put," Stewart said. "It's rough out there."

By noon on Monday, city leaders had decided to revise the order.

"We still have two piers under a mandatory evacuation, but the others are simply a recommendation," Harbor Master Willie Davis said.

Mayor Chipper McDermott said the city issued the original order because Pass Christian has already spent $1.5 million repairing the harbor. He thought it was in the best interest of the city to protect the facility.

"We have to worry about making sure the harbor is not damaged," McDermott said.

Some legal questions remain. What will happen to boat owners who have slips on the piers where the evacuation is still in place?

"We could make them pay for any damages caused by their boats and even cancel their leases," Harbor Master Davis said.

Boat owners and city officials are continuing to monitor the tropical storm and will act accordingly when deciding whether or not to order boat owners to evacuate their vessels.

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